Family Readiness Groups: Are They All That They Can Be? by Lauren McBride

Most units do not place enough emphasis on their Family Readiness Group, nor is it ran effectively.  In most cases, there is minimal participation, the group is boring, and it becomes a “check the box” activity that people are doing, but don’t really want to do.  Even worse, some units don’t even have an FRG!

At the end of the day, family readiness is a big part of operational readiness.  And family readiness begins with the Family Readiness Group.

All units need an effective Family Readiness Group that meets regularly, has a clear agenda and purpose AND provides value to the participants.

Most of the time, the FRG Leader is working a full-time job, has family commitments, and millions of other things to do IN ADDITION to their FRG Leader responsibilities.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a manual, or one stop resource that you could use to start and manage an effective Family Readiness Group?  Wouldn’t it be neat to have a single resource that explains what you should do, what you should talk about, how often you should meet, and all the other things that come with your responsibility?

I know it would.  And I think I can help.

I was recently contacted by a stranger.  Her name is Lauren Leftin-McBride.  As part of her Master’s project, she created an amazing 156-page document that covers everything you need to know to be a FRG Leader and have a successful Family Readiness Group.

She asked me if I could publish her work on my website, and give away the manual for free, in order to ensure Soldiers have access to it.  After reviewing the document, I believe it offers tremendous value to commanders, small unit leaders, family members and anyone interested in leading a Family Readiness Group.

Some of the information in this PDF document includes:

  • Steps on forming the group
  • Introduction to family advocacy and referral process
  • Introduction to family Resiliency Training (FOCUS)
  • Post resources for families and Soldiers
  • Red Cross Emergency Planning
  • Tri-care Services and Behavioral Health
  • FRG Funding and Event Planning
  • Self-care and Mindfulness
  • Closing and Change of Command

And here’s where the manual really gets good.  It has tons of appendices to help you succeed.  These appendices provide some amazing examples you can follow and use for reference.    You will get the following appendices:

  • Confidentiality Statement
  • FRG Volunteer Position Descriptions
  • Pre and Post Meeting Surveys
  • Incoming FRG Leader Checklist
  • Additional Introduction Game
  • FOCUS Flyer and Pamphlet
  • How to Find the Help You Need at JBLM
  • Red Cross Family Disaster Plan, How to Send a Message and Car-seat Labels
  • JBLM Behavioral Health Services Resources List
  • Restricted and Unrestricted Reporting for Domestic Violence
  • Military Power and Control Wheel
  • Fundraising Quick Reference Chart and Planning Checklist
  • Self-Rated Professional Quality of Life Scale
  • Mindful Breathing Exercise
  • Family Advocacy Program Flyers

Last but not least, it also comes with  the following:

  • Problem Map
  • Force Field Analysis
  • Key Information Topical Template
  • Literature Topical Templates
  • Needs Assessment
  • Information Report
  • Needs Statement and Logic Model
  • Data Collection Worksheet
  • Intervention Proposal

In summary, “Family Readiness Groups: Are They All That They Can Be?” by Lauren McBride is a tremendous resource for any commander, small unit leader, and Family Readiness Leader.  It is to the point, easy to read and loaded with great tips that will help you improve the family readiness in your organization and have an effective Family Readiness Group.

Get immediate access to Family Readiness Groups: Are They All That They Can Be? by Lauren McBride

*** Please note the file is on Drop Box and it takes about four minutes to download.

I wanted to close this post by sharing Lauren’s credentials with you.

Lauren Leftin-McBride was commissioned as an Aviation 2LT in 2003 from the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. After completing the Aviation Officer Basic Course, Basic Rotary Wing Training and Advanced Qualification Course for the CH-47D she was assigned to Camp Humphreys, Korea as a Headquarters Platoon leader from 2004 to 2005.

The unit then moved to Fort Hood, Texas and re-flagged as Bravo Company, 2-227th Aviation, transitioning the unit from H series to J series.  Lauren subsequently deployed with the unit in support of relief for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2006, Lauren deployed to Pakistan twice in support of earthquake relief. Lauren then deployed to OIF 06-08 as a Captain for a total of 15 months, holding positions as the Executive Officer of B/2-227th and the Battalion S1.

Upon return, Lauren proceeded to the Aviation Captain’s Career Course at Fort Rucker in 2008. Upon graduation, Lauren secured a position with I Corps G3 Air at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA. Within months, Lauren interviewed to be the forward deployed scheduler for the I Corps Commander and deployed with the I Corps Headquarters to Iraq 2009-2010. 

Lauren concluded her Army career as a Captain in 2011 serving a short stint in the 66th Theater Aviation Command in the Washington Army National Guard before making a decision to pursue her Social Work career. Lauren is an MSW candidate for the class of 2014 and upon graduation hopes to continue serving military members, veterans and their families. Lauren is also an active duty soldier spouse and mother.

4 thoughts on “Family Readiness Groups: Are They All That They Can Be? by Lauren McBride”

  1. Kudos to Lauren for taking on such a project as part of her Masters studies. From what I have read, the Family Readiness Group (FRG) has a long history and was formed with the best of intentions, but has lacked any real consistency. That is a shame, because there is obviously a real need for it. If this manual puts together resources and procedures in one place, it could be invaluable. I don’t know why anyone would not take her up on this free offer.

  2. I will definitely be reading the book and hopefully using it to cite any of my future papers in psychology. I know too many people who were deployed and came back to a broken home because no one knew what to expect, what to do and whom to go to. You can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again once it’s broken so knowing how to cope (for soldier and family members including children) is VITAL! On a side note: my father left the Army just as he was achieving E7. He never wanted to leave but the idea of doing a hardship tour and leaving wife and kids behind was too much for him to bear. Fear of losing his family prompted his decision to leave a job and career that he truly loved. If an FRG was in place back then who knows how long he would have actively served!

  3. It is great that Lauren Leftin-McBride took her time to develop this free Family Readiness Group manual. The FRG is so very important, but I do not think Commanders realize it in many cases until their unit is deployed and they have soldiers coming to them with multiple family issues. I believe this manual would be great to make mandatory. I hope many read and download this free publication.

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